Friday, February 25, 2011

There is no substitution for a people's revolution.

The United States and the "international community" (read: global state capitalists) are attempting to hijack Libya's revolution, in a sense. To poor effect. The imperialist powers are scrambling to make their voices heard now that madman Muammar Qaddafi met his people's democratic demands with extreme violence and repression.

The problem? Once again: too fucking little, too fucking late.

(Not to mention the fact that this total arsewipe has no interest in playing by any rules but his own and their treatment of him sounds like dialogue from a work of absurdist theater. "The United States, France and other Western powers are trying to remove Libya from the 47-member Human Rights Council." Really? What the blue fuck was Qaddafi doing on there in the first place??)

Libya is a complicated situation in that Qaddafi does not represent Western neo-colonial interests, but is instead a fossil of the anti-colonial movements that swept the "third world" after the rise of the Soviet Union. He is, of course, no less a despot, and so his half-baked claims to Marxism are about as laughable as his allegations that Al Qaeda drugged his rebelling population, or that Wikileaks is a CIA conspiracy to overthrow the enemies of the United States (you know, enemies like Hosni Mubarak....).

So history, as history so often does, is cleaning house, deposing the archaic despots of the Middle East with little regard to their allegiances. It is a "combined and uneven" housecleaning, of course, one that has so far spared the monarchs in favor of the pretenders to democracy. But "Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi — neither a king nor a president" (sez NYT, accurately), responds in his own idiosyncratic way, ie, mowing down demonstrators with machine guns and hiring mercenaries to plug the holes left by defectors to his regime.

The Obama administration gained an unfavorable reputation during the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Bahraini uprisings. O didn't have much to say about Tunisia until Bin Ali fled. He stood on the sidelines with Mubarak and let his administration make conflicting assessments; Biden and Clinton painted the Egyptian despot as a stable ally, for example. That was egg on the admin's face almost as soon as the words were out of their mouths.

Granted the response to Libya, where Qaddafi has long operated as a gadfly to the West and attempted to woo African and Middle Eastern radicals for decades, might have required a little more consideration. How and when do you intervene when an antagonistic nutcase turns on his own people? The Obama administration seemed to want to find straight historical precedents ("it's like Somalia, or wait, we don't want this to be like Rwanda ... or can it be more like Kosovo....) when they ought to have been thinking a little more dialectically (what are the historical forces in play in Libya and the region and how do they interact).

For example, I think few of the instances where the United States has been involved in the last century showcase such bravery, determination, and agency on the part of the population involved. The mistake is in how anti-Qaddafi forces have been characterized.

These are not helpless demonstrators. These are not Kuwaitis clamoring for outside aid. As far as I know, no forces inside Libya have yet called on the "international community" for help. Some of Qaddafi's strongmen have defected and are training the rebels - and effectively. The rebels are seizing government weapons caches and pushing back the Colonel's forces.

They are creating a provisional government in Benghazi.

This isn't a humanitarian crisis for the United Nations to intervene in. This isn't even a civil war with two sides bogged down and exchanging blows. This is a revolution, the beginning of a whole new order.

not so bored now, are ya, asshole?

Sending Hilary Clinton to Geneva for international talks will end up being a waste of federal money. By the time the talks wind down, Qaddafi will be swinging from a lamp post (Allah willing). For Chrissake! Compared to the capacity of working people and activists to coordinate these actions in a democratic and nearly real-time manner through social media, international talks are like watching a brontosaurus wake up from a nap.

The best thing the "international community" can do is freeze Qaddafi's assets. By the time they've done anything else, they'll be dealing with a whole new government. Who are you going to impose a no-fly zone on then, huh? Yeah. S'what I thought.

Wake up and smell the incense, guys. The cutting edge of democratic change in the world has done a radical shift and the West is in danger of getting left behind. Without an urgent reassessment, the capitalist democracies are going to find themselves on the wrong side of history, much like Qaddafi - not any time soon, but too soon for comfort.

The support of democracy ought to be a geopolitical strategy.

Of course all this underlines how antiquated our whole political system has become, not just our foreign policy paradigm (which is still influenced by Cold Warriors, sadly). To address the necessary changes in our domestic structure is a task for another day.

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